I had an opportunity to attend a workshop at the Eastman House in Rochester where I learned how to make photographic emulsion. One might wonder why bother when photographic paper is so readily available. It is available now, but there is certainly no expectations that this will continue into the future. After all, go back ten years and who would have thought that Kodak would be completely out of the photographic paper business?
But it is more to it than just that.
Historic processes are those that are no longer commercially available and paper for contact printing is now in that category. As photographic papers continue to disappear the knowledge of how to make them will do the same. There are a zillion people these days working with collodion and another zillion platinum printers, but few make their own silver gelatin. I like to feel that I am retaining that knowledge, and at some point I may be able to share it with someone who has an interest.
This print was made at the workshop using Kodak’s AZO formula, and was the first one I printed. I used a blade to coat the paper and a glass plate negative that was about the right contrast. I am currently collecting the equipment and chemicals to start making the emulsion at home and hope to match the excellent results I was able to get at the workshop.